The Arcade Fire takes it sound to new and exciting places on its slavishly anticipated new album, "Neon Bible," due this week via Merge. The 11-track set was primarily recorded in a church outside the

The Arcade Fire takes it sound to new and exciting places on its slavishly anticipated new album, "Neon Bible," due this week via Merge. The 11-track set was primarily recorded in a church outside the revered indie rock band's Montreal homebase and features contributions from Final Fantasy's Owen Pallett, Calexico's Martin Wenk and Jacob Valenzuela and Wolf Parade's Hadjii Bakara.

Highlights include the sweet, solemn ballad "Ocean of Noise" ("who here among us still believes in choice / not I," Butler sings), the propulsive, major-key rockers "Keep the Car Running" and "The Well and the Lighthouse" and the hardscrabble "(Antichrist Television Blues)," where Butler's passionate phrasing recalls the Bruce Springsteen of "Born To Run."

Husband and wife pair Win Butler and Regine Chassagne's vocal interplay is at the heart of "No Cars Go," another driving cut that shows clear evolution from the band's 2004 breakthrough, "Funeral." The song climaxes with a swell of choir and orchestra.

Having wrapped multiple-night stands in Montreal, London and New York, the Arcade Fire will be on the road well into the summer supporting "Neon Bible."